By Dra. Merliza Mendoza-Eroles as told to the Testimonial ministry
I’m a dentist and I come from a family of dentists – 7 out of 12 siblings followed in our parents’ footsteps. I grew up in a traditional closely-knit, clannish family. My childhood, on the whole, was a happy one.
When I got married, life took a drastic turn. My husband often shied away from his responsibilities. His inability to provide for the family needs led to heated arguments and often resulted in his leaving the house. During those times, I became a single parent to our children – Allen, Bea and Clarisse. I tried to make ends meet by working as an assistant dentist in several clinics. Financial support usually came from my dad, an established dentist in our area.
After some time, my husband would come home to us. I’d usually welcome him back because I wanted to have a “complete family.” I grew up with the belief that families should always be together.
As our children grew, the situation worsened. We had so much obligations to settle – tuition fees, children’s expenses, house mortgage and others. Our encounters escalated from verbal to physical. This continued until 2006 when my husband left without a word. I felt so alone, ashamed and abandoned. Coming from a close-knit family, I was overwhelmed with shame for my inability to keep a “complete family” unlike the rest of my siblings.
My situation became more difficult when my dad needed dialysis. Faced with his own health issues, I could no longer ask for financial assistance. Not long after, he passed away.
His death was a breaking point for me. I felt my relationships had all gone sour. I felt not only the loss of my father but also my worth as a person.
I turned to God and begged him to help me.
After my dad’s passing, our high school reunion was held. There, I rekindled my friendship with a former classmate, Maricel, who has been a solo parent for a long time. She made me realize women like us still have a future.
My sister, Gene, also enrolled me in a Solo Parent Encounter, which made me realize further how God loves those in our situation. I felt God lifting all my troubles away.
My renewed relationship with God opened more doors for me to deepen my relationship with Him. I was able to attend the Feast in Laguna again. There, I found the answer to my questions: How do I care and provide for my children? How do I move on after the separation from my husband? How do I go on after the passing of my dad?
I felt God was holding out his hand to help me — through the help of my mother and siblings, I was able to start my own dental clinic in Sta. Rosa. But my faith and trust in Him were again put to test because the clinic survived for only two years. Then I found a job with an income that helped us get by. Slowly, as my relationship with God was renewed through The Feast, more doors opened for me. I found real friends who helped me see my worth. I realized my family never really judged me as a loser for not having a “complete family”.
A bigger test came when my husband attempted to come back home. For my children’s sake, I felt the need to keep the communication line with him open, this time not as husband but as a father to our kids. He did not take that well. He left again, which caused my children so much pain. But God did not allow the pain and the hurt to cause my children to hate me.
Months after the incident, my sister, Mylene, enrolled us in a Family Encounter Retreat. This allowed me to make my children understand why we were still a “complete family” even if their dad did not return to us.
Just when I thought I was winning the battle, the biggest test happened. In June of 2015, on my way to work, I felt as if a big paddle hit my head. I woke up in a hospital to find out I had a brain aneurysm that leaked and I needed to undergo surgery. A clip needed to be attached to the vein with leakage so the bleeding will stop.
It was the scare of my life. I worried how my children will cope if something happens to me. I was also in no position to pay for the operation.
That’s when God’s power truly manifested. He showed me that the love I thought was not there for me was in fact not missing. I had just overlooked it because I was seeking from the wrong people.
My siblings pooled their resources to help finance my operation. By August, I was back at work and able to worship God at The Feast.
God gave me the greatest miracle – through all my trials, I have friends and family who love and support me, who constantly remind me of my worth. I may have been emotionally and physically injured but God comforted me, healed me, and made me whole again.